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Tonight’s Matchup: On Wednesday, the Barracuda and Stockton Heat drop the puck for the second time in their last four games. San Jose beat the Heat, 6-4, on October 7 to kick off the 2017-18 campaign and are now 17-6-1-1 all-time against its Northern California rival and 10-2-0-0 at SAP Center. The last time San Jose and Stockton played in San Jose came on May 2, 2017, in a decisive game five of the Pacific Division semifinals. San Jose won in overtime, 2-1, on Ryan Carpenter’s game-winning goal.
Heating Up: After suffering their first loss of the season to the Barracuda the Saturday before last in Stockton, the Heat responded with a 4-0 win over the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday. The Heat used 36 saves from David Rittich en-route to the shutout win, getting goals from Mark Jankowski, Hunter Shinkaruk, Oliver Kylington, and Emile Poirier. Jankowski’s four goals are T-2nd in the AHL, despite playing in just three games.
Helewka’s Hot Start: Through the first four games, sophomore forward Adam Helewka leads the Barracuda in assists (3), points (4), and plus/minus (+4). In 2016-17, his rookie season, Helewka totaled 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) in 58 games with the ‘Cuda, and scored three times in 12 playoff games. In 2014-15, as a member of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, the Burnaby, British Columbia native was a Second-League All-Star after potting 44 goals and adding 43 assists. The Sharks drafted the 22-year-old in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Big Impact: Six players from the Barracuda’s 2017 playoff run are currently with the San Jose Sharks (Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Carpenter, Kevin Labanc, and Timo Meier). Time Heed recorded his first assist of his NHL career in the Sharks 5-2 win over Montreal on Tuesday night.
Cabin Fever: Last season, the Barracuda held the league's best home-ice advantage, going 34-24-6-2 (.765) in the Tank, and was within the top ten (84.4%) on the penalty kill on home ice. This season, through two games, San Jose is 0-2 at SAP Center, and just 4-for-8 on the penalty which ranks 25th in the AHL at home, and their overall kill is ranked 30th in the league at 66.7% (10-for-15).
Iron Man: Returning for an AHL-record 20th season behind the bench for the San Jose Sharks top affiliate, Roy Sommer continues his historic career. In 2015-16, Sommer surpassed Fred ‘Bun’ Cook on the top the AHL’s all-time winning list and collected his first A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL Coach of the Year in 2016-17. Sommer is 692-608-48-72-65 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) in his career.